Dear Michael: A Message from Jenna Marzullo-Stockwell
As Viridian’s first Associate, I have had the absolute privilege of knowing you longer than any other member of Generation V.
Together we have witnessed Viridian in times of exponential growth and with that times of struggle. We have traveled the world together, grown as individuals and experienced what few ever will. Who can forget the children in Africa and the looks on their faces as we set up a library for them? How about planting trees together on the side of a mountain in Indonesia or even sleeping on cots in the middle of a remote village in Nicaragua all part of our 7C7Y journeys. We have shared heartfelt laughs at PowerUP! and bonded over countless family and company gatherings these past 7 years. You have been a friend, a leader, a mentor and someone I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for.
So like most of my Generation V family, today’s news that Viridian would have a new leadership team hit me particularly hard. After all, YOU inspired me to make the decision that changed my life after I answered that infamous Craigslist ad back in 2009.
Since our first lunch together on August 18, 2009, you have been an integral part of my Viridian story, Michael. You had the vision and the drive to create the opportunity that has propelled me on this amazing adventure of personal and professional development. Your talent, passion and leadership were always part of the reason that any time there was a challenge in my Viridian business, I chose to overcome it rather than be limited by it.
How do you say goodbye to someone like that?
The simple answer is – you don’t.
So I’m not going to say goodbye. I’m going to say ‘see you later’ to the original Visionary who has signed on to be the inaugural member of Viridian’s new Board of Directors. I know that as the CEO of a public company, a devoted father, husband, son and leader, this was not a commitment you took lightly.
I also know that as our Board member, you will continue to be that guiding hand, ensuring that all Viridian Associates have solid, innovative products to offer their friends and family while we grow this company like never before.
And I’m certainly not going to say goodbye to our shared vision. Your ideas in 2009 were revolutionary: Affordable green energy for everyone? A significant and positive collective impact from individual energy choices? The naysayers scoffed but I recognized something then and I recognize something now.
The Viridian mission, our positive impact, is bigger than any of us alone and can also be bigger than just energy products. Viridian has transformed me and has the potential to transform so many others but it needs a catalyst. I believe the new Viridian leadership team is that catalyst and I know you do too.
I want to say I appreciate this opportunity to make Viridian stronger. It must be heart-wrenching for you to step back and pass the reins for the company you willed into existence. You don’t do that unless you know that laser focus and a fresh perspective are what is needed to help Viridian touch more lives and create a wider path to a more sustainable world. I can say with all my heart I didn’t think I could respect you more, but after this decision I do.
That’s how I know that the new Viridian is the best way to empower Generation V to unlock its true potential. If you believe in it – I don’t doubt it for a second. You are one of the smartest businesspeople I have ever met. Too smart to ever jeopardize the legacy you have created – the same legacy you have empowered so many others to create as well. I followed you back in 2009 and it was the best decision I ever made and I choose once more to follow your lead.
Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t like the idea of you being a smaller part of our “how.” But I do know that each and every one of our “why’s” has not changed. None of us joined Viridian solely because of Michael Fallquist (although you are tremendously persuasive). We wanted to improve the planet for future generations. We wanted to improve our circumstances, find more time freedom or become part of a greater community.
And we will continue to do all those things, and more, as we expand Viridian’s reach. Because, if we truly want the Viridian opportunity to grow, we can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. If we want to help each and every Associate realize their dreams, we have to shake things up a bit.
Instead of goodbye, I am going to say ‘thank you.’ Thank you for the choices you have made. Thank you for always leading by example. The more I learn about Paul and his plans to take Viridian to the next level, and the role you, [Rob] and Cami will continue to play, the more I feel just as I did seven years ago. Do you remember how I got full body chills at that first opportunity meeting? From the tips of my toes to the top of my head, the feeling that I got was so powerful because I knew in my core: We are about to do something great.
Once again, I am at the right place at the right time to do great things for myself and my team and I thank you for that, too.
Who needs goodbye? Instead, I am going to say ‘hello’ to a new beginning. Having this positive mindset has enabled me to move through many obstacles up until now and I know this mental toughness is something all of Viridian’s top leaders share.
So hello to Paul, the new Viridian and a bigger opportunity than I could have ever dreamed on my own.
And to you Michael, I say: Put me on the list for drinks together at PowerUP! in D.C. I wouldn’t miss the chance to catch up on all the amazing things that are waiting for us shortly down the road.